Prime Minister Dr Keith Rowley has announced new measures geared to induce vaccination in the public sector, which his data showed has a low acceptance rate. Here are a few quick comments:
Unlike 2020, when there was a general collapse in economic activity, the pace of recovery now will be linked to how bad the epidemic gets. The rational fear of infection holds back economic activity and drives uncertainty.
Will our private sector stay on the fence, or will they come out and be supportive? Will they connect the dots? I believe they will snatch the opportunity.
In September 2021, President Joe Biden faced the same problem: what to do with high vaccine hesitancy. At the time, the vaccination rate stood at 54%.
What happened? He signalled a mandate for all employers with over 100 employees and Federal employees. The Republicans slammed it, charging it was unconstitutional. It went to court and was ruled to be acceptable in the last 24 hours. I expect the same political approach and result in our situation.
The Strasbourg ruling is instructive in many other court rulings.
The anticipated reluctance of employees to get vaccinated in the US generally did not materialise. The objective of increasing the vaccination rate should be achieved since the Government is our largest employer.
Of course, there will be the vocal hold-outs that will seek to hog the news headlines. But on the other side, there will be those who will be happy for the cover/excuse to take the vaccines.
How the media will handle the coverage is a significant influence, and we should watch that ball.
Here, we have the oddity of the Industrial Court President pronouncing on the legitimacy of such mandates even before the Republic Bank case arrived at the doorstep. It remains to be seen what becomes of the union challenge in that case since, at the time of the court filing, the Republic Bank vaccination rate was 66%, and now Dr Rowley claims it is at 90%.
The daily death rate hovering around 22+ helps support the measures. Given what we know (has anyone seen Dr Avery Hinds recently?), this trajectory will not slack off by itself.
The stench of death (Express headline) will push the wary into the required action. The Church will be in a box since rapid infection rates will make those places involuntary safe zones or cause them to close their doors. Dr Rowley will not have to deal with that situation.
The game is on. Will we have the cojones to do what is needed?